Four years into this journey, I am still amazed and delighted at how the pieces somehow fall into place. As I was writing my entry last week, I really wanted to talk about letting your creative dreams grow next. And like magic, we hit a creative milestone yesterday. We had our first ever studio photoshoot and it was filled with good times, smiles, and great conversations. Never did I ever think I would make it to this point. Somewhere in the back of my mind I always knew a photoshoot would be a great idea, but I always thought my project was too small and therefore undeserving of that level of production.
There are so many times I get down on myself and don't believe that my projects are worth the time and effort that "real" businesses can afford. It seems that every time I get there, something brings me back up. I'm starting to trust the ebb and flow of life — It seems to be like reading the ocean. Sometimes it feels like I'm overwhelmed and drowning, but I know I'm going to breathe again soon, and it's all going to be just fine.
For years, well, decades, I was so scared to follow a creative path. I've made art since I was 3. Obsessively. But I stuck with a math and science focus in school because I was decent at it, and the world around me told me that's how to get to "success." As a teenager, I'd stay up all night drawing just for fun, even though I had never taken any art classes. In college I doodled my way through chemistry and biology lectures. Eventually I dropped out of the sciences and became a design student. I loved that it combined two things I found really interesting : visual communication and sociology. But I still wasn't creatively fulfilled.
I'd go to art shows and feel this incredible pain. I would look at creative projects that artists were releasing and it would make me feel so sad. I loved what they were doing, but I couldn't stop feeling terrible about it. It made me really angry. After a very long time, I realized the reason for my sadness was that I wanted to do those things. It's what I had wanted to do my entire life and I had pushed the desire down in order to achieve some kind of goal that doesn't exist. What was success anyways? To be a great researcher? To be a great graphic designer? How would I even know when I got there?
At that moment, I knew I had to live for my own fulfillment, day by day. Wow, that was hard. Removing all those ideas of what it means to be successful is like removing giant thorns from your body. It hurts so much and leaves you searching because of how empty you feel. I started to submit my most honest work to art shows because I knew that was the one thing I needed to do in life. I was NOT a confident artist at this point. I had a lot to say, and I said it. It was bold, loud, and sometimes ugly. I had panic attacks during my art shows, especially the very first one. I remember feeling out of my body. I couldn't even watch people viewing my tiny space in multi-gallery group show.
More times than I've felt any kind of success, I've wanted to give up. However, I already knew what would happen if I gave up — eternal disappointment and sadness at not spending time on my own projects. I'm sure there are a lot of you who feel this too, and I hope my story helps you believe that your dreams are worth it. YOU are worth it. Your dreams need you to continue to nurture them, and in turn, your dreams will guide you towards where to be next.
Stay tuned for another story next week! I'll tell you about how our 5% policy came to be. :)